Colgate-Palmolive goals to remodel toothbrushes right into a quiet second of mindfulness

Through a new partnership with the meditation app Headspace, CPG maker Colgate-Palmolive is hoping that its Hum smart electric toothbrush can create a sense of calm for people who do their best to get by by the end of 2020.

Hum, which debuted in August, includes sensors that track how often, for how long, and how well people brush their teeth. Once connected to the app, customers can use this information to better clean.

"At times like these, taking a moment to be mindful is critical," Bill Van de Graaf, Colgate-Palmolive's North American director of marketing, told Adweek.

Colgate-Palmolive reports that Hum users have brushed 1.6 times a day more than twice in the past few weeks. While the average person brushes for 45 seconds, less than 14% of Hum customers brush for less than a minute. More than 34% brush for two minutes or more. Perhaps most importantly, Hum users have improved their cleaning skills by cleaning 64% of their mouths up to 85%.

Hum's partnership with Headspace, announced last week, is designed to encourage users to establish a comprehensive wellness routine. As part of the contract, Headspace will provide calming content via the Hum app.

"The mission really is to create healthy habits and we think Headspace is a great brand that is geared towards millennials and shares a similar mission," said Van de Graaf.

Meditation apps like Headspace, Calm and Breethe were in high demand during a turbulent year of job losses, unrest and a public health crisis. Mobile data and analytics provider App Annie said consumers worldwide spent around $ 1 billion on health and fitness apps in the first half of 2020, up 25% over the same period last year.

Hum is up against other smart toothbrushes like Procter & Gambles Oral-B, Philips Sonicare, and the direct-to-consumer startup Quip. Over the past 52 weeks, Nielsen sales have shown Americans spent more than $ 215 million on electric toothbrushes, a category that includes smart toothbrushes. That is 1.8% more than in the last 52 weeks.

Smart devices are generally on the rise as both consumers and businesses appear to be benefiting from increasingly connected technology.

"We live in a world of data dissemination where a tremendous amount of information is generated, captured, processed and made available to us in digestible tidbits via consumer tech devices in our pockets, on our wrists and on our bedside tables." Dipanjan Chatterjee, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, told Adweek. "We're not just used to hyper-personalization and constant feedback now, we demand it."

Behavioral data Colgate-Palmolive collects from Hum will help inform other innovations in the future, the company said.

Chatterjee noted that another aspect of the rise in smart devices is sending a message to both customers and prospects that the company behind the invention is keeping up with the times.

"The idea of ​​branding is all about signaling – projecting a person and manipulating their perception," added Chatterjee. "With a tech-forward approach to its product portfolio, Colgate is signaling that it is about energy and innovation."

In addition to oral care products, Colgate-Palmolive also sells deodorant, hand soap and pet food. The company reported that net sales rose 5.5% to $ 4.2 billion in the third quarter of 2020. Colgate-Palmolive claims to control 35% of the toothpaste market and 41% of the manual toothbrush market in the United States.

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